RESEARCH ON MEMORY RELATED TO LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
Marilia Conte Daros and David W. Gurney, Ph.D.
 

 

LANGUAGE CONNECTIONS FROM RESEARCH FINDINGS ON THE BRAIN AND MEMORY

 
Alton, Daniel (1989)

Alkon's experiments showed that stimuli are connected to a behavioral response that is stored in the memory. It is important therefore, in a language lesson, not to only expose students to a lecture or a text without making them interact through their senses. The animals were conditioned through the senses: visual, taste, touches, aural. Although learning through senses is known a long time most lesson plans do not take this in consideration. Language teachers should enhance their activities (not only at the elementary level) using multi perceptive activities.

Alkon explained the importance of the potassium-ion flow on the neural cells and mentioned about once phosphate. In Brazil, there is a popular statement related to when you have to use too much your brain to solve a problem and you can't find the solution. You may say, "I won't waste phosphate anymore". It implies that brain uses phosphate when is processing information of higher level thinking. Is it true?


Aksnes, H. (1996)

The use of different stimuli to improve language acquisition is a paramount strategy. Teaching language through music enhances not only linguistic competence and performance, but also perception skills.

Language as music links emotions, memories, concepts, values, and behavior.

Learning a language is related to music skills because when you mentally repeat or process a new word, sentence, you have to imagine sound, rhythm, and the resonance of the words as if you are saying them out loud. It requires several internalized dynamic systems.

Ways of using music in language teaching

1. Warming up. 2. Relaxing (singing, background mood) 3. Calling attention

4. Language focusing (drills, poems into music, create lyrics or poems)

The author mentions that meaning is internalized or not depending on language. It can be contested if we consider that thought is language and even though the thought uses images these images can be translated in the language itself.


Anderson, J. (1983)

The article emphasizes two important factors on language learning: practice and frequency. New language items require practice and time to be processed. Students practice the same item first listening and repeating (choral, in open pairs and in two-by-two), then in other given situation for finally transfer in a situation of their own. Teachers should be careful for not saturating the student with the same subject for so long that it may lose attention, that is why frequency is important. Content must go in a spiral where once in a while it is reviewed in a new meaningful context.


Andreasen, Nancy C. (1988)

It would be interesting to be able to measure brain activity in late adult learners as a way of proving that an active mind may maintain its health. Does mind activity prevent mind illness? Does the brainwork like the body that requires physical exercises to improve performance and prevent decay?

It would be nice, also, if we could prove that babies should be stimulated as much as possible up to age four in order to have more synapses and consequently intellectual skills. What activities or stimuli are important for increasing brain functions?

Begley (1998) suggested that foreign language, music, art, and physical exercises are extremely important for intellectual ability but still emphases math as the best way to improve memory. Language and mind are all connected to reasoning, perception, and expression.


Anton, Julie (1982)

The article reinforces that language learning skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing) improve when the students are exposed to and use different perception such as emotion, visual (images, color, events), auditory-oral, kinesthetic (touch and gesture). This means that teaching techniques should use different ways to activate memory through the senses when repetition is done.

 

Baddeley, A. (1992)

The term "process language" means that the new language items if addressed attention activates working memory to make connections and associations to prior knowledge. If understood the new items are provisionally stored in the short-term memory

Until that piece of language is useful for a meaningful context, and then it is stored in a long-term-memory. That's why it is important to give enough time for the students to process it. Does it mean that students will be in silent just processing it? No, it means that students will listen, repeat, write, read, speak and interact with the new items.

 

Baley, C. (1983)

The expressions, sensitization and habituation, can be related to language teaching.

When you sensitize people to a particular problem you make them aware of it. It's important to make the students use their senses while processing new knowledge. Baley's experiments suggest that sensitization enhances connections among cells. Teachers should consider this as a part of the class plan.

Habituation decreases synapses. Does it mean that when people are used to the routine not to much energy is required? It is important though for language learners to use the language automatically without too much brain burning. Habituation occurs when repetition or exposure accustoms you. To master knowledge and use or apply it automatically in another situation needs a longer process of repetition, processing, relaxation, new exposure, transfer.

 

Banich, M. (1998)

Exposing students to a relaxed atmosphere and to situations that instigates emotion and experience will enhance their language learning skills. It will help them to Crystallized their new knowledge into long-term memories.

 

Begley, S., Springer, K., Hager, M., Jones, E. (1986)

Teachers should link words with their usage (facts x procedures), not only in lists. There is less learning on rote memorization of a list of words than words in context. The context will turn the word meaningful to the student and will be the bridge to the student to make relations to his/her prior knowledge.

It would be interesting to use the memory tricks on language teaching techniques.

 

Begley, S. (1996)

Foreign language definitely should be a required subject for elementary students for many reasons.

First, the process of learning a language is as complex as mathematical operations; therefore it enhances children's brain performance, developing the abilities of decision making, problem solving and critical thinking.

If children learn a new language through communication, they will develop social interaction skills.

By adding music to the process of learning, besides having fun, the children will be creating more synapses; therefore they would be improving their mental ability.

Adding gestures to the learning process facilitates children to transfer short-term learning to long-term memory.

Knowing a new language, children can broaden their cultural background of the world. They will respect diversity and enhance their knowledge about the world.

Emotions trigger the brain to store events into memories. It is important to teach language considering this important element.

 

 

Berger, P., Barchas, J.

In Brazil, I taught English as Foreign Language to adults in their late adulthood (over 60's) for several years. They enjoyed the classes and so did I. They used to tell me that taking English lessons were a therapy for them. One lady told me that she did not need her psychological therapy anymore. Therefore, I wonder if foreign language lessons would help mental disorder patients with their treatment.

Some of my students were doing physical exercises (jogging, walking, and working out). They liked that, but they mentioned that, although they feel good after doing physical exercises, they thought FL lessons made them feel even better. It wasn't me because, even when other teachers took my place, they felt the same.

Physical exercise is extremely important to keep a healthy body and mind. Whenever you do exercises, you increase blood circulation in your brain and, consequently, your brain receives more oxygen. More oxygen in the brain, the clearer is the thoughts. While doing exercises, late adults may interact with their friends or keep their minds busy thinking over their problems. The social interaction is very important, but the intrapersonal talking not always is beneficial because of the personal burdens. That's why many people who do work out a lot may not have a healthy mind because they are not working their mind.

My hypothesis is that when late adults, or any language student, are exposed to learning another language, the mind will be busy working complex operational processes in order to acquire and apply the new knowledge for communication. People must keep the mind in shape as much as the body.

Best, P., Thompson, L. (1989)

Retention is facilitated by the use of sensory information.

The setting, context, especially natural ones, gives the students environmental cues that work better than the teacher's hints.

 

Blubaugh, J.

Language teachers must be careful when listening or interacting with students' oral performance in order to stimulate instead of control them. Students' senses perceive the mood of the teacher reacting as a mirror.

 

Bower, B. (1994).

Cognitivism is the theory that bases learning on the reconstruction of a prior knowledge. Brainstorming what students know about content and adding new information to it is a way of building new knowledge from prior knowledge.

 

Bower, G., Morrow, D. (1990)

Language teachers should plan a lesson as if he/she were a writer or play director. Language teachers should create the setting, mood for the student interaction. The teacher could be the tour guide and let the student travel in their imagination.

 

 

Brooks, B. M., Gardiner, J. M. (1994)

Performance is a key word to activate memory. Instead of presenting language for understanding, recognition and recalling, language should be exposed to be performed. In other words students should be using language as a mean for communicating and sharing their ideas, feelings, and knowledge.

 

Bruner, J. (1970)

Language can be stored in the form of a skill, a rule and schemata. Conversational dialogues, reading and writing will develop students' skills of communication. Language drills may automatize grammar rules. Expose students to situations may develop a sense of spatio-temporal meaning.

 

Buchsbaum, M., Fedio, P. (1970)

Even though studies are not conclusive, it is advisable for students to change places, not sit to in the same place every class, in order to perceive stimuli from different angles in order to activate different brain hemispheres.

 

Buchsbaum, Monte S., Drago, D. (1977)

Is it true that teachers should expose students to more difficult tasks in order to have more attention? Either students may pay more attention or just quit due to a higher effort required on the more complex activities.

Buchsbaum, M. S., Coppola, R., Gershon, Kammen, D. P., Nurnberger, J. I. (1981)

Attention is a good subject to be developed. Ways to gather attention and kinds of attention are topics to be explored.

When students are exposed to repetition of a listening or oral drill, their attention will be different each time. The difference will be on intensity or focus. Considering intensity, students may pay more or less attention depending on their interest. Regarding focus, the attention may be selective when it focuses on the main subject first then on the setting surrounding it.

What is interesting is that, in the study of attention, it seems that the researchers do not take in consideration the meaningfulness factor.

 

Bugelski, B. R. (1962)

Adult learners take a longer time to learn, potentially because of their mediation devices. Their background knowledge or prior knowledge and consciousness are broad, therefore they need more time to do associations, connections and have a clear understanding about the function of the new knowledge.

This article reinforces the wrong concept that children learn faster than adults do. Language learning is facilitated for children before puberty because of their language device, but adults may have new knowledge with more quality because while there is association, an analysis there is a long-term learning. Young students profit the better if teachers pay attention to time of exposure, frequency of exposure, quality of presentation and quality of practice.

 

Butters, N. & Cermak, L.

It is important for language teachers to recognize what kind of memory students will be using depending on the learning activity.

How can teachers use the three kinds of memory? (episodic, semantic, informational)

Episodic memory concerns about an event experienced in a certain place and time.

Semantic memory is that relates meaning to or prior knowledge to the new information.

Informational memory is the automatic recollection of any items surrounding the event without any conscious knowledge. It is the perceiving, through the senses, of any stimuli. A student may recall things on the wall, or color of clothes, smells, sounds without having paid conscious attention to any of these things or had the intent to remember any of them.

In order to have long-term learning, students should be exposed to different facets of memory recollection. How can teachers work that?

When teachers create a setting to make students imagine a real and meaningful situation where they will be using language for getting a new information among themselves, their memory will store the event and, whenever that event is recalled, the students will be using their episodic memory.

Whenever language is used to explain meaning, students will be using semantic memory. When students talk about the language itself (structure, spelling, and rules), about the meanings or values of specific texts or contexts, when they connect concrete to abstract things, they will be using semantic memory.

 

Informational memory does not necessarily require consciousness. Your mind stores information from what your body perceives. Sometimes a certain smell will remind you a certain event and you do not even realize why you are recalling that, because you do not have a conscious connection to it. Ask students to close their eyes and try to describe the classroom, or their classmates' clothes. They will be able to describe several things they hadn't even realized it had called their attention. Informational memory is used to store quantities of knowledge in order to answer questions on test or to show teachers that they have learned.

In class, most time teachers work with informational memory, then semantic memory but few times with episodic because they forget to expose students to experience the new knowledge.

 

Buys, Donna. (1983)

I believe language students must automatize the language to be able to focus on the content/context rather than on the words itself. To automatize a language is like learning how to drive a car; first, you are consciously aware of each step, relating pieces to each function, and mastering steps trough extensively practice or repetition. At this level, there is learning through cognition and training. The chunk of language will be associated with prior knowledge and will be performed till mastered, and then it will be used whenever needed unconsciously, as if by magic.

 

Cabeza, R. (1997)

It was interesting to use the association strategy in order to memorize a pair of unrelated words.

Teachers, when giving out lists of words, should set them in categories or ask students to categorize them. Spelling lists should be concerned with semantics (same field) or phonetics (same sounds), rather than randomly chosen. In foreign language teaching, it is interesting to give a list of words from one specific semantic field at a time. The context to use them could have other words that the lesson itself is not focused on.

 

Cabeza, R. (1997)

Lectures do not maintain student's attention. To sustain attention, lessons must focus on the students' interaction among and with themselves (prior knowledge associations, semantic understanding, competence, and performance). This interaction will trigger different regions of the mind as well touch the student's emotional system and, therefore, it will sustain attention.

 

Chandler, T. (1989)

The learning process takes more steps than just exposure and repetition. Processing new knowledge requires time to associate it with prior knowledge, and experience it in a real life situation. Experiencing knowledge involves creativity and sensibility, creativity to relate it to reality and sensibility to perceive it through the senses and feelings.

Spiral learning or relearning the same subject must take into consideration that exposure of the same item must be done in different ways to involve deeper levels of knowledge - from recognition to application.

Note taking organization can help long term memory. Teachers when writing on boards or transparencies should use color markers or chalks to call attention to the information. They also have to use board well balanced and organized. These techniques will help students to recall the information that was with different color or well organized. Language learning students could have a notebook with dividers to classify the piece of information in grammar, vocabulary, drills, and context. As students have organized notes in their notebooks, their mind will recall it easier.

Reason and emotion also help recalling. It is helpful if students know why they are learning and if the learning process is fun.

 

Chapra, Steven C., Canale, Raymond P.(1989)

Lessons must be well planned. They must be interactive and dynamic. They also must be structured.

The structure of a language lesson could have presentation, development and culmination. At the presentation level, students should be exposed to visuals (blackboard or transparencies with structured text with colors highlighting key information, pictures, videos), to different senses (songs with lyrics to be sung, music background to create a mood, realia to be touched or worn, smelled or tasted, gestures, exercises or dance), and to repetition through different ways and contexts. At the mastery level students should be exposed to drills, interaction dialogues and plays. At the culmination level, students should have a chance to express them, show their feelings, or create a new situation always taking in consideration the new piece of information. In summary, students should be able to apply the new knowledge in new situations.

 

Chang, F. F., Greenough, W. (1982)

Chang and Greenough's study is a key to proving the importance of sensory effects on learning. It is also crucial for the belief of the importance of exposing students to foreign language lessons in the early years as the brain is in the process of being developed. It also proves that the adult brain has plasticity ability and, therefore, it is important for adults to take FL lessons as a way of developing their intellectual ability.

 

Chen, H., Leung, Y. (1989)

Learners of second language use all kind of strategies in order to communicate. It most depends on what process they believe is important to use or they are used to apply. In my case I had hard time to be fluent in the second language because of the interference of two factors. The first factor was learning strategy which was translating (L2 to L1 to L2 again) due to my Foreign Language classes focused on The Grammar Translation approach. It was a slow strategy that causes me lots of headache and frustration. I spent a whole year translating while I was an exchanged student. The second interference was low self-esteem, the belief of not being able to produce L2, due to the oppressed education I experienced on undergraduate school in Brazil. Professors believed that low grades make a hard school (meaning good), so nothing was good. Undergraduate students got to graduation deaf on L2.

 

Clark, R., Squire, L. (1998)

Language learning is the term used for the conscious increasing of language domain, skills (performance) and resource (competence). Whenever a learner is focusing on the language itself, there is a conscious act, which may cause learning.

Language acquisition is the term used for unconscious increasing of language domain. It happens when the focus is not the language itself but on real conversation. Whenever there is an information gap where students are seeking for an information that they are interestedly seeking, or when a student is involved in a game or a task which requires a shift attention, there will probably be acquisition.

Children tend to acquire language while adults tend to learn. Older you get more analytical you are and therefore more conscious you are of the process you are involved. Expose students in tasks where focus is on acquisition is an important strategy to make the process of learning a language more automatic.

 

Cole, Al (1990)

It is never too late to learn anything. Memory does not decay enough to risk learning because the process involves factors more important than just memory such as anxiety, interest, effort, meaningfulness, and pace, frequency, repetition.

 

Craik, F. I. M.

Language learning must regard deep encoding of given information. Simply repeating the words to themselves is processing the words at the level of their sounds. Encoding the words in a semantic level is a deeper process. Learners must find ways to use new structures and vocabulary in terms of expressing their own reality.

 

Crair, M., Gillespie, D., Strykert, M. (1998)

If experience is important to maintain the ability of vision it may be important also to maintain the ability to perform a new language. It seems that what is not useful the brain does not need to store. Any vocabulary item becomes useful when it is needed in a real context. Therefore lessons should reflect the students' reality.

 

Crosson, Bruce. (1984)

No matter where language is processed, what is important is to perceive the meaning of the context through the different senses.

 

Crowley, S. (1992)

Music is an important tool for teaching language. It can be used for warming up, language learning, rhyming games, stimulus, and relaxation. Since many of the person's memories may be connected to music, music may enhance memory processing of new language whose meaning correspond to these memories.

 

Crowley, S. (199?

Through food, many aspects of life formation are involved. Food may be healthy whether moderated or not.

Meals can be the opportunity to interact with family members, and friends.

Meals can be way to gather past memories.

Meals can be a way to have pleasure.

Meals can represent nurturing, attention, love.

 

Lessons that use food to construct concepts should not only be at the imaginary level (recipe) but, principally, be tasted to be deeply perceived and to extend the perception channels.

 

Crum, (1994).

By Tulving's experiments, we may suggest that, when subjects study word lists, they may understand them (semantic memory) and/or they may put them in context (episodic memory). I believe that the reason of decreasing recognition is because subjects did not do enough associations to retrieve information through episodic memory and therefore through a LTM. (Ex: the word TYPE, recall it referent and maybe a situation related to an action).

There is information that is known without being related to episode. This information is retrieved by its function and through repetition. (Ex: the word WHAT)

Kindergarten children, on average, are not mature on spatial/time recognition. Therefore, it is hard to test their memory of events. Time (yesterday) may be a distracter because it is not link to the episode itself.

Aged people may not outperform young groups on recalling numbers probably for two reasons, meaningfulness and cue strategies. They will only recall numbers that are meaningful to them and they may not have as many strategies to remember as a young student who needs different tools to succeed in school may.

Almost all experiments were done with a list of words to be studied for a test. Why not test memory with a text that may be meaningful to the subjects?

 

Cutrona, M. P. (1975)

There are different ways to understand student's nature. It is important to see students as individuals but it is also important to see them as potential subjects. At the level you are teaching, everybody is able to perform each one with his or her own limitation but with his or her own ability to transcend. Teacher is responsible for passing on knowledge. The educator is responsible for helping students believe in their potentialities. The researcher is always experimenting with new strategies, techniques, and resources in order to try to enhance the student's ability to acquire and apply knowledge with the purpose of having a better and happier life. Parents could be (if exposed), but teachers should be educators and researchers in order to go beyond their simple task as information guide.

 

Darley, C., Murdock, B. (1971)

Besides helping teachers and students to focus on key content, pretesting is a good way to measure progress. It may also be a good tool to prepare for the test.

 

Davis, H. & Squire, L. (1984)

What we have to take in consideration after reading about process of protein synthesis on the brain is that:

a) Protein is important for memory. Therefore it is important for kids to have a well balance meal containing protein.

b) It is important to give students some time in order to let them process the new information. Short-term memory takes at least some seconds to process the stimuli. LTM needs longer process. In another words, teachers talking all the time for a long period does not mean a good teaching procedure, perhaps this process does not allow students to process learning.

 

Della Neve, C., Hart, l., Thomas, E. C. (1986)

Language learning should also focus on communication rather then recitation. Critical thinking instead of rote repetition or memorization. Students are walking brains that have a prior knowledge able to do connection and to understand the new knowledge.

 

Duffy, F., Als, H., McAnulty, G. (1990)

Attention span can be managed with a lesson focus on student's interaction. If lesson is student-centered, attention will be an important factor. While a student is involved in an activity attention will be maintained.

 

 

Dunn, R. et al (1980)

I believe that first teachers must have a philosophy. According to what is believe to be education and to understand the nature of the learner teachers will develop a style that will match to an approach that uses a certain methodology. The methodology will select appropriate techniques to trigger different learner styles. Therefore a good teacher must understand about psychology of education, psychology of development, pedagogy besides of the content area.

Language teachers must not only be aware of different approaches of teaching language but also have the skills to extend the theory to practical lessons.

 

Earhard, Marcia (1970)

It is extremely important for teachers to expose students to practice associations' skills. Teachers should realize that any subject could be an interdisciplinary theme. Teaching FL is connected to Social Studies, Art, Language, even Math, as any other subject may be associate to build the whole. The universe of knowledge is a puzzle of connections.

 

Epstein, H.

There is no chronological nor mental age to teach children what is meaningful to them and important to build a better society.

Language should be always a way to improve communication or expression (critical thinking, decision making, problem solving).

Spelling quiz should be vanished and expressing quiz should be adopted.

 

Esler, W. k. (1982)

Listening, seeing, reading, speaking, expressing feelings, singing, writing, drawing, touching, gesticulating, smelling, are ways to enhance LTM. If an information is exposed to some of the above senses or perceiving channels, it will have more chances to be taken from the STM to the LTM. Teaching activities should be varied in these aspects in order to become life learning.

 

Fagen, J., Prigot, J., Carroll, M., Pioli, L., Stein, A., Franco, A. (1997)

Maturity and frequency are important factors on learning. There are some aspects of language like "s" on the third person that is learned not right away, so teachers should not give too much attention to it in the first exposure. It does not mean that students should not be exposed to the complex item at all. Exposure must be natural. Teachers should call attention to the complex item when students seem ready to it. Then they should frequently go over the same item but in different contexts.

Natural language acquisition should not expose students to simple structures first to complex ones later. Natural exposure involves simple and complex structures at once. The focus may be gradual whenever is needed; therefore students performance will be the controlled indicator for language (grammar) explanations.

Teachers should keep in mind that grammar should facilitate language use.

 

French-Mestre, C., Prince, P. (1997)

How can one develop autonomy in the language classroom?

Take an ordinary whole sentence and model it in a drill. For instance the sentences "I'm sorry, but I don't know the meaning of... could you explain it to me?" or "I'm not sure, but I think..." can be used in several situations for beginners. They will understand that tolerance for complex statements is important, they will learn in a natural way (the most useful first, in contrary to the less grammatical complexity to the most), with frequent exposure, they will feel confident speaking the language. Autonomy is acquired with a lot of practice within a meaningful situation.

 

Frost, W., Castellucci, V., Hawkins, R., Kandel, E. (1985)

The experiment of sensitization with aplysia proved the importance of exposing the new information several times. In contrast to experiments with animals, however students' exposure should perceptively vary in order for the information to be gradually associated in deeper thought level.

 

Fuster, J. M. (1973)

Physical discomfort (cold, hot, hunger, thirst, etc) as well psychological disturbances (anxiety, sadness, super excitement) are distracting stimuli that may cause error of performance. Therefore, generalizations that a person has attention deficit or is a slow learner must be done very carefully.

 

Gardner, Howard (1981)

Lateralization being so evident, even though there are interchanges of hemisphere functions, it is advisable for students to not always perceive information relative to the same orientation. There may be a subtle difference in retrieval if students were to physically change places, in order to receive stimuli balanced for both hemispheres. Perhaps, it is also advisable for teachers to move from one side to the other. Besides of making the class more dynamic, this may help expose students to different perceptual angles. Using different perceptual sources (music, visual, gestures, motion...) is also a way of activating different parts of the brain.

 

Gardner, Howard (1981)

Lateralization being so evident, even though there are interchanges of hemisphere functions, it is advisable for students to not always perceive information Relative to the same orientation. There may be a subtle difference in retrieval if students were to physically change places, in order to receive stimuli balanced for both hemispheres. Perhaps, it is also advisable for teachers to move from one side to the other. Besides of making the class more dynamic, this may help expose students to different perceptual angles. Using different perceptual sources (music, visual, gestures, motion...) is also a way of activating different parts of the brain.

 

Gardner, H. (1995)

Teaching the same information to be processed through different intelligences is the best way to make it be understood. If you, for instance, have to show a piece of art to your students, let them talk. They talk about what they see, what they think the picture means or the story of the characters. They may talk about the time frame, the history connected to that period, or in what part of the world the scene could be taking place. In this sort of activity, students will be using various tools (speaking, thinking, creating, listening, observing, analyzing, generalizing, searching for prior knowledge, sharing emotions). If they associate the name of the artist with a sound/ rhyme and a gesture, they will also be using several tools (musical/ kinesthetic). For sure, repeating the same meaningful information through different channels gives time to the student to process the information and to transfer it from STM to LTM.

 

Gazzaniga, M. S., Sperry, R. W.

Students should express themselves through speech, writing, and non-verbal responses (drawing, gesticulation).

 

Gee, N. (1997)

Working words in context rather than in lists is always a better way of learning language. Context stimulates the creation of concepts, accessing meanings and helps the brain make connections to prior knowledge. Working language through situational episodes where the language has the function of solving some gaps of communication is ideal. Students ought to have the need to discover some facts in order to use the language autonomously, focusing not on the language itself, but the search for information.

 

Gerard, L. D., Scarborough, D. L. (1989)

English is my second language. My native one is Portuguese. I got a degree in Brazil on Foreign Language in English and French. I took one year of Spanish, and one year of Italian. My father speaks Italian at home.

After graduation I took a trip to Europe. It was great to practice English and French. As English was my second dominant language, whenever I had to translate the French to Portuguese, English was in between.

When I went to Italy I couldn't speak Italian at all. French interfered. The same happened to Spanish. Whenever I tried to speak Spanish or Italian, French interfered and I would say some thing of both languages.

Two processes may have occurred. The first is that whenever a subject tries to learn a third language, the second language learned may help or interfere. The second hypothesis is that similar language facilitates understanding but affects production.

 

Glass, B. P.

Is it possible to measure the effects of stimuli provided by studying a foreign language on the functioning of the brain? Is that a way to prove that foreign language could maintain brain healthy functioning on old learners? Is mental exercising good for the mind as physical exercising is for the body?

 

Glickstein, M. (1988).

 

Gordon, Harold W. (1980)

Listening activities through video have been an important tool of language teaching. For years, listening to cassette drills or dialogues were the only choice. Videos accelerate comprehension because of the visual input. Videos done for native listeners are harder to be understood by FL students and teach them to tolerate the difficulties of learning a new language. It, also, trains them to get the main idea instead by focusing on the context instead of focusing on the vocabulary.

 

Goudreau, R. (1982)

It is incredible how much we can infer from analyzing the anatomy, chemistry and physiology of the brain. Much has been discovered in relation to the process of learning and producing language. The complexity of the brain is so fantastic that sometimes it is incomprehensible. What does matter is not how intelligent you are, but it is how much of the intelligence is used to have a harmonious communication with the outside world.

 

Greenough, W., et al. (1978)

Government can not count on the family environment for an educational warranty. Schools must provide the desired environment for any child, specially the ones with more needs. It seems that what happens is the opposite, as neighborhoods of higher standards have better schools because they circulate more money. Social changes may improve through school improvements.

 

Greenough, W., et al. (1981)

A complex language classroom environment involves:

a) Student-centered lesson plans,

b) A flexible setting responsive to changes and to the need for students' movements for interaction,

c) Active students who will connect new knowledge to their prior knowledge,

d) Multimedia lessons (TV, Newspaper, Magazines, Music, and Video.) with activities that provide practice in listening, reading, speaking and writing.

 

Active students perform successfully when engaged cognitively, emotionally and physically in the activities.

 

Institutions for elderly people should introduce language lessons as a way to have mental exercising in order to maintain a good cognitive functioning.

 

Grimshaw, G., Aldestein, A., Bryden, P., Mackinnon, G. (1998)

Foreign language should be taught at elementary level not only for the fact of children, up to puberty stage, are better physically equipped for acquiring language than any other person in older stage of life, but especially because learning language requires deeper process of thinking. Bilingual children have been known to have better cognitive skills. Besides of these facts, when you learn a language you became aware of the diversity of the world and you also has a better cultural, geographical and historical background.

 

Grosjean, F., Lane, H., Battison, R., & Teuber, H. (1981)

If signers communicate well having their own structural language without studying grammar, why should second language learners divide their communication time studying about the language itself (metalanguage)?

Silent language uses gestures as referents of communication. Gestures can also be used as referents whenever a word or list of words is introduced.

A project called Arty Facts designed to expose students to the most famous painters, and stimulate the love for the arts is conducted by volunteers at Hunter's Creek Elementary School, Orlando, Florida. Students try to express their feelings and thoughts relating to the piece of art shown. They create stories about what is happening in the picture. They imagine when that picture was done and relate to events or people of that time. They imagine being in the picture and deciding what they would be doing. At the end of the session, in order to memorize the name of the painter and painting, the children relate the sounds of the author's name to a gesture as well a gesture that will remind them about the title of the masterpiece. Doing the gesture and saying the word at the same time help them to memorize. At the next meeting after a month, I just do the gesture and they remember the names. At the end of the year, they will remember about 10 different names that were reviewed in every session. We created our own sign language. I have been doing that for years, and it seems to be working. Another day I saw David, a boy I taught 3 years ago, when he was in the first grade. He mentioned that his parents bought a book about Renoir making the sign gesture.

 

Grossman, R. (1989)

Kinesthetic intelligence is the ability to understand and perceive things using gestures, and body movement. It is another special way to stimulate learning as well making a dynamic class.

 

Hadar, U., Olenik, D., Krauss, R., Soroker, N. (1998)

Iconic gestures may facilitate language acquisition.

One way of making a dynamic activity is adding iconic gestures to a word list or retelling of an event or text.

 

Hansl, N. & A. (1979)

Students do not store information with a single exposure. A complex exposure may boost all the chemicals needed to cause the transition from STM to LTM.

Haviland, J., Kramer, D. (1991)

An optimal anxiety level is important to enhance learning. Challenge is a positive way to raise anxiety to a certain degree to cause higher growth. Students normally can do better if they are challenge. Both teacher and students must believe that to make it happen.

Emotions can enhance acquisition. To appeal to emotions, teachers may use authentic material given by the students. Ask students to bring lyrics from songs they like and work language through it. They are likely to profit through activities that they like the most.

 

Hilts, P. (1991)

Context may help students to understand what the text means even though they may not have conscious knowledge of the meaning of each word of the text.

Following the logical, natural connections, in typical communication can have the effect of increasing the number of connections the brain may establish with new information on new language material contained in the communications by the teacher.

 

Hirshman, E., Jackson, E. (1997)

Visual as well audio cues are important facilitators of language learning.

 

Hubel, D., Wiesel, T. (1979)

Sight and sound are tools to help language acquisition. They amplify sensory input and enhance concept understanding, besides of creating broader associations.

 

Jacoby, L.

It is important to work on language as structure and as function. The structure of the language is only important to facilitate its function. The function of the language is communication; therefore structures must be used to enable students to interact with other people and texts.

 

Jones-Gotman, M. (1979)

The article relates to multi coding per various experiences while pursuing natural connections stimulated under conditions of learning new language material. With abstract words, one needs to elicit actual experiences logically associated with the abstraction in order for intrinsic connections to be made and understanding to occur.

Abstract concepts have a concrete context.

A teacher trying to work such abstract words as tolerance or patience for example may evoke students to think about experiences in which they have used or felt those words. Doing brainstorming, a student could come out with the word shoelaces. This is a concrete referent that may explain an abstract word. The child will have to explain the situation (context) in order to understand his/her connection to the definition of the abstract word (concept). That is why teachers should accept any students' answers. Students' minds may soar above our level of understanding. There may be not a wrong answer but a different correct connection to the stimulus.

 

 

Juliano, S. (1998).

 

Kandel, E. (1989)

Teaching must be graded to affect the graded memory. The number of vocabulary items to be introduced should vary from 6 to 8. Students should be exposed to these items and use them for several occasions in different ways in order to be learned. Just rote repetition in a list will keep them in a STM. But if they are repeated in a list, with visual, gesture and sound they will be understood. Then, the items should be transferred in a context where students are trained to use them to express themselves appropriately to the situation. Finally, to consolidate the items, or to store them in a LTM, students should be able to use them in several, or many, different situations of their daily lives.

 

Kappel, S., Harford, M., Burns, D., & Anderson, N. (1973)

Reading for comprehension has better results when the text is silently read. In ESOL or FL classes, students who are asked to read aloud will focus their attention to the pronunciation of words, while native students will focus on rhythm and speed. In both cases, the focus is shifted from comprehension to performance, therefore, the context may be not understood. Teachers who ask students to read silently or aloud should have in the mind what the task is comprehension or oral performance.

 

Kennedy, M., Shankweiler,D. (1981)

Pace is an important element on teaching. Teachers should value time and challenge students to do their best in the best time. Gradation, frequency and pace are the elements that may make a dynamic lesson. Content must go from simple to complex, from prior to the new. It must be presented, processed and reviewed in order to be transferred to be adapted to any new situation. Time is short and important. A good content balance exposes students to the most information (they will serve themselves with just a percentage anyway) possible for that period of time.

 

King, H. (1973).

King's finding that the sensory stimulus increases with time, makes us think how important it is to use techniques that activate senses with basic content as a way to reinforce it in the memory.

Discussion, also, strongly suggests a process of probing for multiple connections to new material (stimulus) by interested teachers in normal sort of communicative interaction with students based on information provided by the learner or a result of the initial stimulus. For example, a teacher in charge to teach the months of the year, instead of doing so, she/he may talk about birthdays of the month (shows the word on the calendar). Interaction based on information supplied by student; teacher explores connections to other information using the same word (month) plus the linguistic material that is already under control. This episode becomes a model for similar dialogues about other students and a logical extension can be other relationship to the same month, possibly some activities done in that month using the calendar.

If the new language pattern is fundamentally, the same as the pattern in the learner language, there is no new concept to be learned. Therefore, the potential for interference based on King's study is potentially lessened or non-existent.

A new material that is similar or resemble a prior knowledge when in the process of being leaned may be affected by the interference of the old concept. The word "dependable" is similar to "dependent", so whenever a foreigner (who speaks a Latin language) hears the statement "dependable person" the concept of dependent may interfere and the statement may be understood as the person depends on other.

 

Kiewra, K. A., Mayer, R. E., Christensen et ali (1991)

Students look for main ideas when exposed to new material the first time. Connecting to the learning of a language, the student establishes the meaning when exposed to it the first time. Before or while producing a word or sentence for the first time, connections must be made to prior knowledge in order to establish understanding.

When exposed to a material second time, the attention goes to details: forms, sound, correction.

When exposed more than 3 times, there must be intent to internalize the material. The students do not worry anymore about understanding, but concern themselves with communication. Ideas become the focus and not any further the components of the ideas to be shared. Therefore, repetition is important to either learning or acquiring a language.

 

Knopman, D., Rubens, A., Klassen, A., Meyer, M., & Niccum, N. (1980)

Visuals or concrete referents facilitate understanding.

Class plans must surprise students in order to not creating habituation without a new, intriguing or challenging stimulus.

 

Kolers, P. (1963)

We are not so sure which experiences are stored in separate banks, as language is. In contrast, we believe that experiences are saved in a common memory. If students learn language through experiencing a situation, they will be able to connect it with previous experiences and establish a new path for future connections.

We also believe that language has a coordinate bilingual storage where the native language has its own bank with the language system or structure, as well as the second or other languages have their own separate place in the left hemisphere. On the other hand, vocabulary or concepts are stored in common compound right brain storage. Therefore the Portuguese "pata" or the English "paw" is accessed from a same bank with only one referent (the image itself of a paw).

 

Krashen, S. (19??)

It is extremely important that children under puberty age learn foreign language. With the natural linguistic device, children are able to learn a language without accent. Children are also able to acquire language without to much analysis and consciousness; therefore they can process language faster than older students.

 

Kutas, M., Hillyard, S. (1980)

Context is more important than semantics. Context may elicit the meaning of words.

Labianca, D. & Reeves, W. (1986)

Language teaching involves interdisciplinary action in which students are exposed to contexts of other areas of knowledge related to the target content. It, also, should let students to have transdisciplinary action, which allows students to transfer the content to meaningful contexts from other areas. When students make these connections, their brains will have more challenge than just receiving input from the teachers.

 

Lado, R. (1965)

Games of memory span are great ways to develop language. In order to retell a series of numbers, or an event, foreign language students will have to use many other expression as "I can't remember", "first... then ... and finally....", "can you help me to remember... What come next....".

The game is a means and not an end. Language is a means to communication, not the focus itself.

 

Lamendella, J. (1979)

Language learning differs from language acquisition. Learning involves a consciousness while acquisition involves practice of a meaningful context. You acquire a language whenever you use a new language structure or vocabulary to fulfill a communication need. You learn a language whenever you are consciously involved in a language activity.

Language learners have to be involved in several stages in order to have a good communicative performance. The presentation stage involves identification and contextual comprehension. The development stage involves modeling or drill practicing of contextual use. Culmination occurs with fulfillment of an information gap and transference of new context to a meaningful communication.

 

Livingstone, M., Hubel, D. (1988)

Visual input helps comprehension.

 

Loftus, G., Truax, P., Nelson, W.W. (1987)

The older we get, the more analytical we become. This means that we make more associations based on a broader background. Older Ss will ask more questions related to their prior knowledge in all linguistic aspects (syntax, semantic, phonological, and contextual). Younger Ss will use the language without conscious knowledge of all linguistic aspects of the content used. Therefore, whenever a teacher plans a lesson, the age of the students will influence the pace of it.

 

Logan, G. (1990)

There are several ways of repeating the same target content. It can be repeated through different ways and in different contexts. First, it may be practiced in choral repetition to get it familiarized and to have time for students to process it. Then, it can be repeated in open pairs, and two-by-two. And, finally, individually as a report. Concerning context, first it should be an established and inspiring context. Secondly, in related contexts. Finally, in a transferred and meaningful context. After all these repetitions (about 16), the target content is likely to be automated.

Luciana, M., Depue, R., Arbisi, P., Leen, A. (1992)

Adding gestures to make the words or context understood is a visual-motor spatial task. Therefore, gesture is a good tool to reinforce perception.

 

MacLean, P. (1982)

Content related to emotional experience will certainly be stored in a LTM. Whenever a learner has the opportunity to express his/her feelings and understanding in relation to a new content, he/ she will be doing several associations with his/her prior knowledge or experiences causing the storage of the new item.

 

Muller, R., Rothermel, R., Behen, M., Muzik, O., Mangner, T., Chakraborty, P., Chugani, H. (1998)

Language learning seems as complex as the brain itself.

 

Nelson, T., Alkon, D. (1989)

It is important to eat food rich in protein in order to assure learning.

 

Pines, M. (1983)

Is it possible a healthy eye to perceive without vision? Mind is really complex. People can do without remembering, perceiving without seeing.

 

Rooks, D. B.

It seems that 16 repetitions are a number too high but it is the needed number for incorporating a new item.

Let's imagine 6 to 8 new words, of the same semantic field, is to be introduced in a defined setting with specific structures. In a communicative approach, the teacher for the students to make associations with sounds and meanings should present these words at least 3 times. For modeling, the communicative approach suggests working in open pairs at least three times, to check if the drill to be practiced was understood. Then students will interact another 3 times with different partners. To be meaningful, the established situation should be transferred to a new "real" situation where the student's opinion is considered. To be acquired, the semantic field may be reviewed and expanded at least another 3 times in different situations. In summary:

3 for presentation + 3 for modeling + 3 for use + 3 for meaningfulness + 3 for review = 15 times + n times for frequency = long term learning and acquisition.

Repetition does exist in normal settings but should always be meaningful and natural. Teachers must be creative to create new situations to use a set of words in a conversation. They also must have a good sense to know how many times the set should be repeated.

 

Scheibner-Herzig, G., Sauerbrey, H., Kokoschka, S. (1991)

Words and sentences out of context should not be worked into tests or any activity. In 15 years of teaching English as a Foreign Language in Brazil I have never done a spelling test with my students although they have learned to express their thoughts and feelings. It is about time to focus language as a whole and not as fragments out of context.

 

Schooler, L., Anderson, J.:

Context implies the creation of meaningful situations that learners will be understanding and applying the new language items.

Even though the item is meaningfully understood, the element of time is important for LTM. A period of time must be allowed for new material to be processed. Repetition and frequency are also important factors.

 

Squire, L. (1992)

Language to be stored must be worked considering the episodes and meanings (semantic) it is involved.

 

Tulving, E., Schacter, D. (1990)

Many objects have a concrete referent that does not require semantic exploration to be understood.

 

Witkin, Herman et al. (1971)

Listening to authentic material is a challenging way to develop language comprehension. Time and practice improve experience. Touching, smelling and tasting are other ways to improve learning through senses.